Chapter 2 - All Fall Down
Inside Klinger's office, Hawkeye turned and saw a horrified Margaret. She, too, had been listening in. The look on Pierce's face showed no pleasure at being right--or more precisely, at Cassandra Weiskopf's being right. They continued to listen to Colonel Potter--and another.
"I'd ask how it is you're still alive, Kronny. But you always found a way through. What can I do you for?"
The man Sherman Potter knew as Stavros Kronopoulis just sat and regarded his old friend.
"Sherm, I got a problem. I have something big in the hopper, and I need my best planner. That's you. Now, here's my problem."
He pulled a pistol, and aimed it directly at Sherman's head. Potter did not flinch.
"You need that pop-gun cleaned, Kronny?"
"No, Sherm. I don't. What I want to know IS WHY YOU didn't execute Cassandra before we withdrew. That was a direct order from your Commander. That's mutiny in wartime, pal. Punishable by summary execution. Any reason I shouldn't?"
Potter looked at him, and grabbed the gun. He wiped it off, and handed it back to Kronopoulis.
"Sure. I know where this new Army has stashed Marner and Okhtohvsky. You say you got a notion in your ocean? We'll need a nut and a lug. But to find those two--you need me. And Kronny--you always have."
"Then its a deal. Ok, you wanna know what I got?"
"I'm all ears. Even moreso than when I was a kid."
"Sherm, its as easy as One-Two---World War Three. Time we cleaned house. Whatever world follows'll be better than this stalemate we got now. No Reds, and fewer of just about everybody else. Bring things back to the way I--the way we remember em'."
"I'm still with ya."
"Good. Now I have divison commanders loyal to me. They'll be crossing the border, and provoking a chase. The weak sisters'll have no choice but to let us go in full force. Waddya think?"
Outside, Hawkeye and Margaret waited for a ray of hope. They seemed to get one.
"That plan won't work, Kronny. Waste of good men's lives, is what it is."
Finally, the Sherman Potter they knew was back. Or was he?
"Hey, you got a better idea?"
The hope vanished.
"That's why I plan these things, Kronny! We pull an Ike on them. Drop in phony planes and tanks, like right before D-Day. The Commies are so antsy, they'll move forward, our men are waiting, and we have a better excuse."
Kronopoulis kissed his own fingers.
"True genius at work. The Boys From Golgotha ride again!"
Outside in the compound, Hawkeye and Margaret gathered their thoughts.
"Pierce, Cass was right! My God, what sort of man is The Colonel?"
Pierce shook his head.
"Cass may be right, but she's still nuts. And there's something else not right here. Sherman Potter may have killed, but he's no killer. I'll talk with him later. That Kronopoulis is bad news times ten."
Inside, the reunion continued.
"Oh, uh, Sherm? I need a loyalty test."
Potter stared grimly.
"Simple, really. You just have to kill Hawkeye Pierce."
Never batting an eye, Potter assented.
"Oh, is that all?"